11/27/10

Ana Cardona is officially back on Floridas death row. She spent a short reprieve in a state facility while trying to appeal her death sentence with a new trial. As usual the death penalty makes no sense here.

Ana was involved in the killing of her own child. A small boy named Lazaro Figueroa, three years old. There is also proof of long standing abuse.
The story goes that after Ana's rich drug dealing boyfriend died she inherited the estate worth hundreds of thousands, only to squander it all away. She later hooked up with a lesbian chick named Olivia and the two of them dealt drugs and shop lifted. Somehow Lazaro became the punching bag and scapegoat for Ana's fall from riches and was eventually found badly beatten on a roadside in Miami.

Ana was given the death penalty but Olivia was given a 40 year sentence- both were proven to have had a hand in the little boys death. Once again we are left wondering why some child abusers are killed by the state and others allowed to live their lives.

Ana joins Tiffany Cole on Florida's death row. In Tiffany's last letter to me she expresses sadness that Ana will share her fate but says she will be happy not to be the only woman on the row there.

http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/inmate-details.cfm?id=60

11/17/10

The Oppression of Bail
Mathew Barker- Benfield

Most people are quite familiar with the concept of bail; Law and Order attorneys arguing for or against the possibility of bail for some suspected criminal, often at values of $10,000 or more. The concept behind bail is that individuals accused of a crime either a) need to be kept in jail until their trial, or b) need to pay some amount of money as a guarantee that they will go to their trial, where they will be given back their money. Of course, television obscures a huge part of the politics behind bail, bail bond agencies, and the often little amounts of money that comes between an individual and their freedom. The fact of the matter is, more than 500,000 inmates in jail today are there not because they are guilty, but because they are unable to pay bail, and so must wait in jail for months at a time until their trial, causing huge emotional and financial hardship on them, their families, and their communities.




Most people aren’t aware of the huge number of prisoners currently incarcerated and awaiting trial, unable to pay bail as little as $50. In fact, the United States spends over $9 billion dollars a year housing them. Doug Currington, an inmate awaiting trial in Lubbock, Texas, tried stealing a television from Wal-mart while high on methamphetamine. His bail is $150, and he has been in jail for 75 days, at a cost to taxpayers of over $2,850. Even subtracting the inhumanity of Mr.Currington’s situation, one wonders how such glaring inefficiencies could exist in our prison system, especially during budget crises in many states.



One way of answering this curiosity is by following the money. In the case of bail, the trail leads to bail bondsmen. In exchange for a nonrefundable payment worth 10% of the total value of the bond, bail bond agencies will pay your bond. As soon as you go to your trial, the bond is given back, netting the agency a handsome 10% profit. Many of those who are arrested and awaiting trial assume that one must work through a bondsman in order to pay the court, not realizing that they are able to pay bonds directly. Bondsmen don’t even really run the risk of losing their money if their client does not show up for trial, because they only pay a fine worth 5% of the bond, which is worth less than the 10% fee they charged. Politicians don’t rally against the agencies because it is political suicide to appear “soft” on criminals, and because the bond agencies are incredibly powerful political lobby with influence in nearly every state. These lobbyists fight against programs such as pre-trial release that would cut into their profits, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives that are ruined by being incarcerated. The men and women often lose all their belongings, their apartment or home, and worst of all, have a much higher chance of a receiving jail time instead of probation, even a longer sentence, compared to those that make bail, yet another regressive policy that extends the cycle of poverty generation to generation. Pre-trial worker Steve Henderson argues “The only thing that jail is good for is to keep the dangerous people in the community away from the people who don’t pose a risk.” Justice Department figures suggest a different story, showing that nearly 2/3rds of all inmates are non-violent petty offenders who are there because they can’t afford bail. Whose Justice is really being served?

11/15/10

Judge Seals Decision In Jacob Shaffer Case: Judge Robert Crigler Of Lincoln County Picks Location For Jury Pool, But Seals The Decision – WHNT
I have been following this case with rabid attention. Jacob Shaffer committed this crime about an hour and a half away from where I live.  I have been to every single one of his court appearances and pay close attention to news reports.
From what I gather Jacob went to his wife’s Fayetteville, Tennessee home and killed her. He then killed her brother, her 16 year old son and a neighbor boy. Jacob also traveled across the street and killed her father. There is also evidence that before this killing spree he killed a man in Alabama in his place of business.
There are some interesting elements of criminal justice coming out here.  It is a capital murder case so the death penalty could very well be on the table. Most certainly will be.  The judge has decided that the pool of jurors will be outside Lincoln County but has refused to say from where. There are also tales of certain evidence being locked.
I have also heard quotes from the sheriff that this is the strangest case he has ever seen. Rumors running around at the local papers I write for all lean toward necrophilia, cannibalism and just general abuse of a corpse.
I work with inmates. Its what I do. I have been around inmates and ex-cons my whole life. Jacob Shaffer scanned the courtroom once and I thought I caught his eye. I smiled a weak smile but he was looking away before I could even tell if he’d looked at me at all.
To me, he looks empty. There is no animation in his face at any time.  He is stoic and solid. His eyes are flat and black. In my amateur opinion I believe something emotional shut him down at some point and he lost it. He isn’t in there anymore, that’s for sure.

11/10/10

Facts About Capital Punishment

Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences.


As of 2006, Ninety percent of all executions were carried out in Asia and the United States.

Around 13,000 people have been executed with capital punishment, since the colonial times.

The term capital originates from Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (Latin caput). Hence, a capital crime was originally one punished by the severing of the head.

The United States ranks fourth in the number of executions every year.

Over 60 percent of the world's population live in countries where executions take place.

The United States court banned the practice of capital punishment in 1972, but it was later reinstated in 1976.

In China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by the death penalty.

Between 2005 and May 2008, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen were reported to have executed child offenders, the most being from Iran.

The methods used for execution are lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging and firing squad.

There were 51 women on death row as of 31st, December 2007. 11 women have been executed, since 1976.

San Marino abolished death penalty in 1865. The last execution in San Marino had taken place in 1468.

Around 65 percent of the US population are in support of capital punishment.

In Japan, Emperor Saga abolished the death penalty in 818 under the influence of Shinto and it lasted until 1156. Therefore, capital punishment was not executed for 338 years in ancient Japan

11/6/10

U.S. faces calls for the death penalty end | news

 

U.S. faces calls for the death penalty end | news

The entire world is looking at the U.S. like we are the biggest idiots this side of Mars. The entire United Nations scolded the U.S. like spoiled child for which the three jurisdictions -. Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma – account for more than half the country’s executions.

What a complete embarrassment.

11/4/10

Its a scary thought but many people believe that every single one of us could be a murderer if the circumstances were there. You might think to yourself, "well, if my child were in danger or if it were a life or death situation..."

But what about other circumstances? I know a young woman who sits on death row now for the murder of her boyfriends parents. She was 17 at the time and he was 22. She was very caught up in the love and attention she received for him and would have followed him blindly into hell, happily. Now that is exactly where she is. Years later she wonders how she ever did what she did.

Then there is Christa Pike who sits on death row for the killing of a rival for her boyfriend. Her mother knew something was wrong with her mentally and asked the state and doctors for help for her for many, many years only to be turned down.

Then there is Andrea Yates and Susan Smith, who killed their children. Each received very different punishments. One deemed insane, the others monsters.
Is it in all of us? This ability to kill for one reason or another?

Matthew Perkins Triple Murder

The man who committed these murders recruited my daughter into the Army. We had quite a bit of contact with him at the time. Can you ima...